Dr Nagitha Wijayathunga

Research interests

Optimisation of vertebroplasty to minimise adjacent vertebral failureEPSRC)
Supervisor: Dr Ruth K Wilcox, Dr Richard M Hall, Mr PA Millner

Many elderly people suffer from osteoporosis, which causes their bones to break very easily. One of the most common places for a fracture to occur is in the vertebrae of the spine. These fractures are difficult to treat and many patients suffer from long-term pain. Recently, a new method of keyhole surgery has been introduced to treat these types of injury. The treatment, called 'vertebroplasty' involves injecting a special cement through a fine needle into the spine to hold the fracture together. Early results have been positive, with the majority of patients saying they are in much less pain after the treatment. However, recently there have been reports that vertebroplasty may increase the risk of the patient having more fractures in the surrounding vertebrae. At the moment, little is know about how stiff the cement should be or how much to inject. The aim of this project is to develop computer models of the spine that can be used to predict what effects the cement will have on the surrounding region of the spine. To check these models make the right predictions, the results first need to be checked against experimental tests undertaken in the laboratory. Then, the computer models will be used to compare many different types and volumes of cement. The aim is to find the optimum combination that will reduce the risk of more fractures happening in the surrounding vertebrae.

To find out more about the Insitute of Medical & Biological Engineering's research visit imbe.leeds.ac.uk


Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering